People are incorporating sugar into their diets more than ever. It’s not uncommon to reach for a packet of sweetener and find an abundance of colorful options. The pink packet or the yellow packet? Natural? Raw? Stevia? There are more and more sweeteners making their debut into restaurants and grocery stores everywhere so it is important to know what these sweeteners are providing in your diet before making the best decision for you.
Artificial sweeteners seem to generate the most confusion and with many people consuming large amounts of it through soda, coffee and baked goods, it is important to make sense of what these sugar substitutes are actually providing. Thanks to serving sizes and clever advertising, many people believe these sugar replacements are calorie free; however they contain calories in small amounts per serving. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals or natural compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar with a fraction of the calories. Because the substitutes are much sweeter than sugar, it takes a much smaller quantity to create the same sweetness and, therefore, can serve a purpose in weight loss and diabetes control. The ongoing debate is whether the benefit of these low-calorie sweeteners actually outweighs the potential risk of consuming them.
In the United States, sweeteners fall under the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) category, but with new studies and controversy continuously swirling around artificial sweeteners, many people are wary. There is no definite answer as to which is safest, but many health-oriented consumers have turned to Stevia, an all-natural herbal product with a history of safe usage dating back to native Indians in Paraguay. It is recommended for people who do not want to consume artificial sugars.
There are numerous studies on the benefits and drawbacks of sweeteners in the diet, and it is important to stay informed and explore different options. At Arden Hills, we’re doing our part to provide members with the healthiest options. We have added Stevia to our beverage stations and will continue to provide the highest quality alternatives to our members.